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Modest gains made in Stanislaus County's employment rate

The unemployment rate in Stanislaus County saw a little drop in July which was largely fueled by seasonal employment at area food processing plants, according to the latest data from the Employment Development Department.

Stanislaus County had a July unemployment rate of 13.6 percent, down from a revised rate of 15 percent in June and more than double the year-ago estimate of 6.5 percent.

A few sectors in Stanislaus County posted job gains for the month with Manufacturing reporting the biggest increases. The sector added an estimated 800 positions for the month, all in food manufacturing, according to the EDD.

The Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector added an approximate 500 positions for the month. That growth largely came from many clothing and other non-essential retail stores reopening. The reopening of retail stores accounted for 400 of the 500 jobs, according to the EDD data.

Professional and Business Services and Educational and Health Services each added an estimated 200 positions in July.

The only two sectors that reported job losses for July were Farming, which was down by an estimated 300 positions, and Government, which posted a decline of approximately 1,500 jobs for the month. The decline in Government jobs was largely attributed to local school districts, which typically report high job declines during the summer months.

Even with the gains in some sectors, the year-over comparisons show the deep hit Stanislaus County has taken from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Every sector in the county was posting job losses from the same time period the year prior.

Leisure and Hospitality have taken the largest hit with an estimated 5,000 jobs lost in the county. It's followed by Trade, Transportation and Utilities, which has lost approximately 4,400 jobs, the EDD reported.

California’s unemployment rate improved to 13.3 percent in July as the state’s employers added 140,400 jobs, according to the EDD. California has now regained nearly a third (31.1 percent) of the 2,625,500 nonfarm jobs lost during March and April as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In related data that figures into the state’s unemployment rate, there were 3,144,098 people certifying for Unemployment Insurance benefits during the July 2020 sample week. That compares to 2,778,771 people in June 2020 and 308,212 people in July 2019. Concurrently, 244,506 initial claims were processed in the July 2020 sample week, which was a month-over decrease of 39,794 claims from June 2020 but a year-over increase of 205,016 claims from July 2019.

After five months of the COVID-19 pandemic and the historic demand for unemployment benefits it has created, impacted workers have received a total of $67 billion in benefits.